Spooky Writing Contest 1st place submission: “The Good Samaritan”

Congratulations to the winner of the 2021 Spooky Writing Contest! Thank you to everyone who submitted, there were a lot of great stories!

The+Good+Samaritan+by+Danny+Garrity+is+this+years+winner+of+the+Spooky+Writing+Contest.+Congratulations%21

Art by Natalie Karlson

“The Good Samaritan” by Danny Garrity is this year’s winner of the Spooky Writing Contest. Congratulations!

The snow falls hard on the dark, barren highway. Dense groups of dead trees surround the country road. After a 14 hour shift at the hospital, Katherine makes her way home. The young nurse’s body aches with exhaustion. 

“My feet are killing me, Mom,” she says into her phone.

“Katherine, you’re eight months pregnant. You need to take it easy,” Katherine’s mother warns on the other end.

“I know, I know. But, I need all the money I can get.”

“Okay, just please be careful driv‒”

“Mom? Hello?” Katherine says into the phone. She looks at the screen to see a low battery signal before the screen goes black. 

“Shhhh- great,” Katherine says as she throws her phone onto the passenger seat. She massages her bump and continues driving. 

Suddenly, there is a loud popping noise and the car begins to shake erratically. Startled, Katherine pulls to the side of the road and gets out. Her breath floats in the air as she looks at her completely deflated back right tire. She’s confused for a moment, but then makes her way to the passenger seat. She grabs her phone and tries to turn it on only to be immediately reminded that it died just moments ago. Katherine angrily sighs while throwing her hands up and dropping them to her sides. She doesn’t know how to change a tire and, even if she did, she doesn’t have a spare. She has no clue how she’s going to get help.  

She looks up and down the black, empty road. Nothing. Suddenly, two headlights appear in the distance, and Katherine catches the driver’s attention by waving her arms in the air. The car eventually slows to a stop next to the driver’s side of Katherine’s car. 

“Need a hand?” the shadowy man asks in a friendly tone. 

“Yes! Yes! Can I borrow your phone?” she says from the passenger side. Only her head is visible to the man in front of her as the rest of her body is hidden behind her station wagon.

“It died just a few moments ago, I’m sorry,” says the shadowy man. “I have no problem driving you to the rest stop, though. It’s just down the road.” Katherine hesitates for a moment, looking up and down the road while massaging her stomach. 

This is probably my only way of getting a tow truck, Katherine thinks.

 She gathers her purse from the passenger seat, walks around her trunk, and then towards the man’s car. Katherine gets into the front seat and realizes the man is staring at her bump. 

“Oh. You’re pregnant,” the man says in a cold tone.

“Is. . . is that a problem?” Katherine asks.

“No, no. Congrats!” the man says in his friendly voice once again. They begin to drive down the road in silence. Katherine observes the shadowy man. Though the dark obscures most of his facial features, she can see that he has circular glasses and shaggy hair. He’s wearing a large green jacket, but Katherine can tell he is very thin underneath. The silence makes Katherine uncomfortable. “Thank you so much. I’m Katherine, by the way,” she says, trying to make conversation. 

“Katherine’s a pretty name,” the man says in a monotone voice, never taking his eyes off the road.

“Thank you,” Katherine doesn’t know what else to talk about. “We sure got a lot of snow, huh?” She asks, but the man doesn’t respond. His eyes are trained on the road. 

Eventually, Katherine sees the lights of the rest stop. Oh, thank God. Get me out of here, She thinks. However, the man does not put on his blinker. He doesn’t merge onto the exit. He keeps driving and Katherine watches as the bright lights go by. 

“Um, I… I think you missed the rest stop,” Katherine says.

“It was closed,” the man responds coldly. They continue driving. 

The highway is completely empty and Katherine is growing more nervous with every second. She massages her stomach. 

“I didn’t know you were pregnant,” the man says. Katherine doesn’t know what to say to him, and she just watches the man with wide eyes. They continue to drive until the man pulls the car to the side of the road. His headlights point a beam of light across a snow covered clearing followed by a line of trees. The man opens his door and gets out, and Katherine watches as he slowly walks around the hood of the car and to her door. She tries to think of a means of escape, but her mind is racing. She’s frozen. The man opens the door without saying a word and Katherine slowly gets out shaking with fear. 

With one hand on Katherine’s back, the man guides her to the edge of the road in the beam of the headlights where they face the clearing and the treeline. 

“Run,” the man says in his emotionless voice.

“W-What?” Katherine asks as her voice shakes and her breath shudders.

“You’re pregnant, so I’m going to give you a chance to get away. I’m going to give you a head start. If I catch you… I will cut your baby out,” the man says while looking straight ahead.

Katherine’s jaw drops with disgust and horror. She looks at the man and slowly steps forward. Her muscles are tight and each step feels like a thousand pounds. She starts to cry as she runs as fast as she can towards the tree line. She has no idea how much of a head start she has. She looks behind her and sees the man’s silhouette in the middle of the headlights. He’s watching her with his hands in his coat pockets.

Katherine makes it to the gray trees. She’s panicking and every horrible thought of what will happen to her rushes through her head. As she runs through the dead forest, she loses all sense of direction. She has no idea how far she’s travelled, but she knows that she can’t run forever and won’t be able to outrun the man if he finds her. Katherine sees a tree with half of its roots overhanging a small stream. She tucks her small frame underneath the base, hoping the man won’t find her. 

She stares out from under the roots, scanning the environment, her eyes moving frantically. Every little noise causes her imagination to run rampant. She waits in the darkness as the cold starts to get to her. Her feet and hands are numb. Something large grabs a hold of her and she starts to think that these are her final moments. She then realizes that it is a loose root that had been blown by the wind and wrapped around her, and her panic subsides for only an instant. She continues to shake with fear in the snow. She lays there, waiting. 

She waits until the sun comes up. Katherine hears slow footsteps approaching her. The steps are as quiet as can be, but to Katherine, each one sounds like a roll of thunder. Her heart begins to race again and her eyes widen. The footsteps get closer and closer until Katherine looks out from her hiding spot to see two black boots. She covers her mouth in an attempt to control her loud breathing. A large hand grabs her shoulder and Katherine lets out a blood curdling scream. 

“Ma’am, ma’am, it’s alright. I’m Officer Dunn with Highway Police. Are you okay?” the officer asks before Katherine runs into his arms. 

“There was a man… he was… he was going to kill me!” Katherine says while sobbing. 

“It’s okay, he’s gone,” the officer reassures her.

“How… how did you find me? I thought I was… I thought I was going to die.”

“Well… whoever this man is, ma’am, he taped this to the window of my vehicle. I found it this morning. He told us how to find you,” the officer explains as he hands Katherine a yellow sheet of notebook paper. 

The letter is written crudely with the words going over the lines. Katherine begins to read it.

Hello Mr. Police Man,

Go here. You will find a young woman named Katherine.

Underneath were the exact coordinates of her hiding spot. He… He knew where I was? Why didn’t he kill me? Katherine asks herself. She continues to read.

Don’t worry,  I let her live. 

Katherine looks at the bottom of the letter and begins to sob again.

Sometimes I just like to watch them run.

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